James Randi embarked upon his magician career in 1946 under the pseudonym the Amazing Randi. His tricks delighted the public, which is not surprising: for example, they write that, being suspended over Niagara Falls, he could free himself from a straitjacket or from a locked coffin.
Unlike many of his other colleagues, Randi has always emphasized that there is not a drop of so-called "magic" in his ideas and no otherworldly forces are involved. However, now, in the comments to his YouTube video, grieving fans write that Randi was just a "real magician", to whom all other self-proclaimed "wizards" do not even fit a candle.
Almost fifty years - from the early 1970s - Randi has devoted to the fight against charlatans "from esotericism", he was actively involved in exposing a variety of information about paranormal phenomena and miracles, about the psychic abilities of "clairvoyants" and so on.
“Something needs to be done about this problem. Because all this is not “just fun” - this is a cruel farce, because of which only ruins remain from people who turn to “psychics” - emotional and financial”, - said James Randi.
His first high-profile success was the story of Uri Geller, whom he was able to bring to the surface during the Johnny Carson's Evening Show in 1972. Geller then claimed that he could bend spoons with the power of thought. Randi demanded that no props could fall into the hands of the hoaxer before filming, and watched over it. As a result, Geller was unable to perform a single trick.
Subsequently, Randi, leaving his career as an illusionist in the past, established the James Randi Educational Foundation, within the framework of its anti-charlatan activities, he supported programs aimed at forming a scientific outlook among young people, published educational literature, and assisted in the creation of educational programs.
Thanks to the fact that Randi had wealthy like-minded people, he promised $ 1 million to anyone who, under the conditions of a well-organized scientific experiment, could prove that he had paranormal abilities. However, for the entire time of his foundation's work, no one could receive this money.
Randi owns many bright statements, scattered into quotes and demotivators. "No matter how smart and educated you are, you can be deceived!", "Anyone who believes in telekinesis - try to raise my hand!", "No belief makes anything a fact", "There is a huge difference between an open mind and a hole in your head for your brains to drain through!", - wit Randi liked to repeat.
The legendary debunker of psychics and all the supernatural on the network is called not only "Amazing Randi", but also "The Terminator of Illusions". We bring to the attention of the readers of Novye Izvestia his speech from his speech at the international TED conference.
During this lecture, he takes a lethal dose of homeopathic sleeping pills to demonstrate to the audience that homeopathy is a pseudoscience, and also challenges mediums around the world, talking about the activities of famous US mediums and citing the completely obvious and undeniable facts that they are ordinary liars and deceivers who profit from other people's problems and troubles.
“I have a very specific life experience, I have developed a special relationship and approach to the real world. Because I am an illusionist. I prefer this term instead of the word "magician" because if I were a "magician" it would mean that in order to achieve "real magic" I use spells, witchcraft, and strange gestures.
But I don't, no. I am an illusionist. And this is the one who pretends to be a real magician.
So how do we accomplish certain things? We rely on the fact that the audience, like you yourself, will make assumptions.
For example, when I came out here, I took a microphone from the stand in my hands and turned it on, and you immediately thought that it was a microphone, but it is not.
In fact, this is something about half of you, or more than half of you, are not familiar with. See: this is a beard trimmer. Believe me, it turns out to be a very bad microphone, I tried it many times.
This little lesson is intended to demonstrate to you that you will make assumptions, that is, not only that you can make them, but you will make them - if they are correctly suggested to you.
You think I'm looking at you now. But - no, I am not looking at you. I cannot see you. Backstage I was told that you are here, that there is a full house and all that. And I know that you are here because I can hear you, but I do not see you because I usually wear glasses. And these are not my glasses, they are just empty frames.
But why, you ask, does an adult come out to you with an empty rim on his face?
To fool you ladies and gentlemen! To deceive you and show that you too can make false assumptions. Don't ever forget this.
Now I have to do something, and first of all, put on real glasses so that I can really see you. It will probably be nice, but I don't know for sure, because I haven't looked at you yet. Well, yes, perhaps not so pleasant ...
Now I'm going to do something that is probably a little strange for a magician: I have to take the medicine. This is a full jar of Calms Forte. I'll explain everything to you soon.
So, ignore the instructions - the instructions are put there by the government in order, I believe, to confuse you.
And now I will take this medicine, a sufficient amount, right in the whole package ... 32 Calms Forte homeopathic tablets.
Homeopathy is an alternative form of treatment, right? So, I forgot to tell you, these pills, which I took in the amount of 32 pieces, are sleeping pills.
That is, I just took a sleeping pill, which is enough to sleep in six and a half days. And this is undoubtedly a lethal dose! It even says: in case of an overdose, immediately contact a poison control center, and a free phone number is given.
But do not worry, sit still, everything will be all right with me.
I've been doing this trick for viewers around the world for eight or ten years now! I have been swallowing a lethal dose of homeopathic sleeping pills many times!
Why don't they work on me ?!
The answer may surprise you. What is homeopathy - you take a medicine that really works and is diluted far beyond the Avogadro number. Diluted to the point that nothing remains.
Guys! This is not just a metaphor, it is true! It's like taking a 325 mg aspirin tablet and tossing it in the middle of Lake Tahoe, then stirring it with a clearly very large stick. And wait two years. Or so. "Until the solution is smooth."
Then, when you have a headache, you take a sip of this water and - voila! - the pain disappears. This is the essence of homeopathy.
Homeopaths even say: the stronger the medicine is diluted. The stronger it is. Did you hear that ?!
... I don't know what we are doing, believing all this nonsense over the years.
... And now I must say that I am an actor. I am an actor who plays a certain role.
I am an actor playing the role of a wizard, a magician, perhaps, if you will, a real magician.
If someone appeared on this stage and declared that he is the ancient prince of Denmark, whose name is Hamlet, you would be, and justifiably, offended.
Why does this person think you can believe such nonsense?
However, there are a huge number of people in the world who will tell you that they have psychic, magical powers, that they are able to predict the future, that they know how to come into contact with the dead, and so on. They will gladly sell you astrological and other divination methods. They also say they can get you a perpetual motion machine and a free energy generator.
They declare themselves clairvoyant and psychics, whoever.
But one thing that's just recently regained popularity is this deceased talk business.
From my naive point of view, the dead is one who is incapable of communication.
I think you can agree with me on this.
However, these people say that not only can they communicate with the dead, but they can also hear them, and transmit information from them to the living.
Is it true? I don't think so, because this category of people will use the same tricks that we, magicians, use. The same physical methods, the same psychological methods. And they effectively and seriously deceived millions of people across the Earth, causing damage to them.
They deceive people, they cost these people a lot and bring them a lot of mental suffering.
Billions of dollars are spent on these charlatans around the globe every year.
And, if I had such an opportunity, I would ask only two questions to these people.
First question. If I ask them to contact - and they claim to hear spirits with their own ears - with the ghost of my grandmother?
She died leaving a will, but she hid it somewhere and no one from the family knows where it is.
So we ask grandmother: "Where is the will, grandma?"
And what does grandma say: “I am in paradise and it is wonderful here, I am here with all my deceased friends and relatives, with all the puppies and kittens that I had when I was a little girl. And I love you and will always be with you! While!"
And she never answered this damn question: where is the will?
She could just say: "The testament is in the library, on the second shelf, behind the encyclopedia."
But she doesn't say that, no. It doesn't give us any useful information.
We pay a lot of money for this information, but we do not receive it.
The second question I would like to ask is quite simple.
Let's say I ask them to contact the spirit of my late father-in-law, for example. Why do they say at the same time: “The name begins with F or M?
Is this a guessing game? Hunting or Fishing? What is it? A game for 20 questions? No, it looks like 120 questions!
And this is a cruel, wicked and absolutely dishonorable game that these people play. And they use gullible, naive, grieving and needy people for this.
There is a process called cold reading.
One guy, his name is James van Pragh, is the biggest expert at this kind of thing. John Edward, Sylvia Brown, Rosemary Altea - they all do it. There are hundreds of them all over the world. But in this country, James van Pragh is incredibly popular. What does he do?
He loves to talk about how the deceased became the deceased, all those people with whom he speaks through his ear.
Very often he says this: "He told me that before he died, he had trouble breathing." But guys, this is the essence of death, what happens during dying!
You stop breathing and then you die! It's that simple!
And is this information they are going to present to you ?! This is no good!
These people will guess at you and say: “For some reason I feel electricity? The spirit tells me: "Electricity!" Was he an electrician? " - No wasn `t. "Has he ever had an electric razor?" - No, it was not. And it's all a question and answer game like this! And that's exactly what these people are doing.
Our James Randi Education Foundation is often called and asked, “Why do you care so much, Mr. Randi? Isn't it just fun? "
No, this is not fun. This is a cruel farce.
It might bring some comfort, but it only lasts twenty minutes or so, and then the person looks in the mirror and says, “I just paid a lot of money for this cold reading, and what did she tell me? "I love you!""
That's how they always say it! People don't get any essential information.
... $ 700 for 20 minutes of "cold reading" on the phone, as in the case of Sylvia Brown ... But that's more than lawyers make!
This is all just fabulous money.
So what will Sylvia Brown do for you for that $ 700? She will tell you the names of your guardian angels, this is the first thing. Without this, of course, how else could you live and function!
She will tell you your names from your past lives, and also tell you who you were then.
The women she wonders were all Babylonian princesses or something, and the men were Greek warriors who fought Agamemnon.
Nothing is ever said about a 14-year-old boot shiner on the streets of London, who died of consumption. Obviously, you shouldn't "mess with" him!
And there is also such a strange thing, guys, maybe some of you noticed it too - they never call anyone out of Hell!
Everyone, according to her, comes to her from Paradise, but never from hell, never! But if she calls one of my friends, for example ... Well, you understand the train of thought, right?
However, Sylvia Brown is at the same time the only professional medium from all over the world who has agreed to accept the challenge of our foundation, offering 1 million dollars to anyone who can prove their paranormal abilities. She did so on CNN's Larry King show. But that was six years ago! And since then we have not heard anything about her. It's strange. She stated that she could not contact me.
That is, an expert on how to contact deceased people could not contact me ?!
At first she “could not” contact me, and then she declared that she no longer “wanted” to contact me, since I was an “atheist”.
Maybe these people don't need a million dollars, but don't you think they wouldn't want it, just to make a fool of me, just to get rid of “this atheist,” as Sylvia Brown constantly says?
I think we need to do something about all this! These people need to be stopped, because what they are doing, as I said, is a cruel farce!
People who have suffered from these charlatans constantly come to our fund. They are emotionally devastated and financially ruined because they gave their faith and their money to "psychics."
All in all, I'd love to hear from you guys real suggestions on how to get in touch with federal, county, and local governments - so that they finally do something!
I understand everything clearly. There are many people who tell us about the AIDS epidemic, about starving children around the world, about people suffering from water pollution ... These are all very important questions. Critical!
And we must certainly do something about these problems, of course. But at the same time…
Do you know the words of Arthur Clarke: "Decay of the human mind"?
This is a matter of belief in the occult, the paranormal and the supernatural, in all this complete nonsense and nonsense ... This is medieval thinking! And I think something has to be done about it. And the answer lies in education, in education.
Basically, the media are to blame for all these things. This mass media shamelessly promotes all kinds of this nonsense, as it pleases the sponsors. This is what the final line is - the dollar line.
There is nothing worse than hearing a story about how "our mother let go of our entire family fortune, even sold CDs, all shares and certificates." All this is very sad to hear. And after all, contacting these "specialists" did not help any of these people, none of their problems was solved!
Yes, perhaps we will really be in for the decay of the minds of all America and the minds of people around the world, if we do not start thinking sensibly about all these things!"